Critical observation on terrestrial REDD+ schemes has implications for emerging Blue Carbon initiatives

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An interesting paper (Fletcher et al., in press) which argues that neoliberal faith in REDD+ schemes for forest conservation, on the basis that they represent market-based initiatives, is misplaced, as it is not feasible for REDD+ payments to fully offset the short-term economic benefits of natural resource extraction that are foregone. There is increasing focus on extending REDD+ out to sea as Blue Carbon schemes for mangroves, saltmarshes and seagrass, for which MPAs are often vehicles. Maybe these should learn from the experiences of REDD+ and pursue these Blue Carbon initiatives more as economic subsidy or partial compensation schemes that help promote conservation, but that do not actually represent market-based initiatives that can work alone, in that the Blue Carbon payments do not fully offset the loss of short-term economic benefits from resource extraction that are foregone by the protection of the habitats and species in question, therefore Blue Carbon payments will always have to be accompanied by other incentives, including legal regulations, even though these are anathema to neoliberalists.

This argument resonates with the argument that faith in a single approach to governance, e.g. payments for ecosystems services (which is what REDD+ and Blue Carbon represents), is generally misplaced, as other economic, legal, etc. incentives will always be needed alongside Blue Carbon incentives, these being a form of subsidy or partial compensation that is not sufficient in isolation, so Blue Carbon represents an economic incentive that needs other incentives to support it, rather than being a market-based approach that can work alone, i.e. the "key to resilience is diversity, both of species in ecosystems and incentives in governance systems" (Jones, 2014, Governing Marine Protected Areas: resilience through diversity -, paperback version to be published 15 February 2016, US$40 or £22 with 20% discount code DC361)